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CLOSE THIS BOOKFuel Saving Cookstoves (GTZ, 1984, 128 p.)
VIEW THE DOCUMENT(introduction...)
VIEW THE DOCUMENTAcknowledgments
VIEW THE DOCUMENTPreface
VIEW THE DOCUMENT0. Stoves and the Global Firewood Crisis
VIEW THE DOCUMENT1. How Not to Develop a Stove
VIEW THE DOCUMENT2. Finding Information
3. Developing Stoves with Local People:
VIEW THE DOCUMENT4. Promotion and Dissemination
VIEW THE DOCUMENT5. Heat, Fire and Stoves
VIEW THE DOCUMENT6. Measuring Stove Performance
7. Building Instructions
VIEW THE DOCUMENTReferences

2. Finding Information

Would a stove satisfy a need in your region? If so, what kind of a stove? To help answer these questions, you must have a good grasp of two quite different kinds of information.

Social and cultural information will help ensure that a stove design responds to local needs. Particularly if your interest in stoves is largely technical, you will need to familiarize yourself with the culture they will serve. Every technical design decision has socio-cultural ramifications. Not only should you know how many people commonly cook and eat together, but you need to develop a feeling for the way a society operates. How do people interrelate? What is correct behavior, what is outrageous? What do people find beautiful and pleasurable? If you are an outsider, this sort of background will also help you move more comfortably in the culture with which you are working.

You will also need technical information, both a body of theoretical knowledge (Chapter 6) and a wealth of data on local fuels, materials, resources. If you: are already familiar with much of the local culture, but don't have a technical background, it is important that you gather quantitative information. Carry a measuring ;tape. Weigh bundles of wood. Make dimensioned drawings of cooking arrangements. Measure cooking time. This is particularly important if you must later work at a distance from the potential stove users.

Technical and social information are equally important in making sound design choices. This section is intended to give; you an idea of where to start: what kind of information to get and where to find it, what skills to acquire and what pitfalls to avoid. It includes two checklists which can be adapted to your own investigation.

A word of caution

As you go about your investigations, beware of the generalizations you make. What you see is not necessarily the norm. For example it is tempting to assume that people in northern Senegal eat mainly chicken because so often when an outsider visits a home, a chicken will be killed for the guest. This is a misleading conclusion. Meat is only used occasionally, generally to flavor sauces.

Cultural patterns vary between geographic regions, climatic zones, from one season to another and over time. Customs may differ among social classes, tribal and religious - groups, from village to village and from household to household. Take care not to generalize from one or two observations, try to assess the range of variation.

The same caution applies to written sources. Statements such as "in Tanzania ...", "in East Africa ...", or even "in Africa ..." are often erroneous generalizations. A case in point: One report states that in Upper Volta, millet stalks are used for cooking up to six months of the year because they are more readily available than firewood [1]. This study is based on observations made in the North Central part of the country. An investigation in other regions of Upper Volta, however, found no evidence that millet stalks are used as a primary fuel [2]. The discrepancy between the two reports may be due to geographical variation, or fuel use may have changed quite suddenly. In any case, it would be dangerous to use either study as a base for long-term fuel predictions in Upper Volta or West Africa.

Fires, fuels and fireplaces

Ask someone to teach you how to build and maintain a fire. Tiny sticks require a different technique than firewood that is arm-thick and over a meter long. When should the fire be small and efficient, just hot enough to keep a covered pot simmering, and when should it be a quick, hot blaze? Learn what to use for kindling and how to assure good combustion. It may be possible to develop a stove that requires no change in fire building technique.

Many cooks routinely practice fuel conserving measures. They may withdraw embers to reduce the intensity of the fire, and when cooking is over, they may extinguish the fire with water or sand. Charcoal obtained in this way can be re-used later, e.g. for ironing.

Wood is not the only fuel commonly used. Charcoal, agricultural wastes, dung, peat and coal may be used along with wood or as alternatives to it. Are "modern" fuels popular, such as petrol, gas or electricity? Find out why a certain fuel is popular - maybe people have always used it, maybe it has special burning characteristics, or a pleasant smell. What you see people using is not always the fuel they prefer. When not enough of their favorite fuel is available, they may have to choose a less desirable alternative. People may be using dried dung even though they are quite aware that dung would be better left on the fields as fertilizer.

Think about substances that are available, but not currently used as fuel. They might become useful in an appropriate stove. Examples: corncobs, ricehulls, sawdust.

Find out what people like about their open fires. They fill many needs: they cook, provide warmth, dry out damp clothes, they are also a source of light and provide a social or ceremonial focus. They are moveable and easy to maintain. Their smoke may keep in sects and rodents under control. A stove could incorporate some of these features. It could be built to heat the house in cold areas; it could be transportable if the cooking place is frequently shifted. Where insect control is important, the pots could periodically be removed to allow the smoke to fill the room. A stove will not provide light and may not be adequate for ceremonial needs. Where people must light an open fire to meet the needs a stove cannot fulfill, they may be better off without a stove. Take this option very seriously; especially where the open fire's drawbacks are seen as minor inconveniences.

An open fire can have considerable disadvantages. Constant exposure to smoke causes health problems similar to those caused by the use of tobacco: chronic bronchitis, emphysema and lung cancer. It also leads to eye diseases such as conjunctivitis. Cooking over an open hearth can be uncomfortably hot, and there is danger to small children who may fall into the fire or tip over a pot of scalding liquid. A stove can solve these problems, as well as reduce the amount of fuel needed for cooking.

A good stove should fulfill as many of the open fire's functions and have as few of its drawbacks as possible. It should make the fire more useful and versatile, not less so. Nevertheless, there are compromises that will have to be made if people decide to replace cooking fires with stoves. A stove may indeed use only half the amount of wood an open fire would use, but it may require that this wood be chopped into much smaller pieces to fit in the firebox. People may feel that the wood savings do not offset the discomfort of cutting wood with crude tools in the tropical heat.

Cooking may be done on two or even three fires which are lit as needed, as is common in parts of West Africa (Fig. 2-1). In Guatemala, the cook is constantly rearranging the pots around a single fire to take advantage of the hot flames as well as the cooler areas at the fire's edge (Fig. 2-2).


Fig. 2-1; Fig. 2-2

Fires may be inside a kitchen hut, under an overhanging roof, in a shelter or in the open courtyard. There is usually a reason behind the choice of cooking location. Out of doors, smoke presents less of a problem. A hut provides protection from wind and rain. Would the choice of kitchen location change if there were less smoke or no problem with wind? Would it make sense to establish both an indoor and an outdoor kitchen, or should you consider a moveable stove?

Investigate any indigenous stoves already in use; they may be practical, efficient cookers. Simple means of enclosing or partially enclosing the fire may already save wood, or may have potential for development. What do food vendors cook their wares on? Stoves for special uses, ovens and kilns may be adaptable for other cooking purposes.

In parts of West Africa the shea nut is dried in a mud structure with a stick grid and a basal fire entrance (Fig. 2-3).

Could this "oven" be used for an outdoor cooking stove, if it were built smaller?

In Mexico a low mud wall is built on a platform, in U-shape. Iron bars are laid across the top and pots stood on them (Fig. 2-4).


Fig. 2-3; Fig 2-4

Find out who has the skills to build such indigenous structures. Work with these people. Build on existing practices wherever you can.

Food and cooking practices

Explore the range of foods, and when they are prepared. When is breakfast cooked? When is it eaten? What is eaten for lunch, dinner, snacks, special occasions? What is never eaten? Note staple foods as well as specialty items, baby foods and medicines. Treats and foods sold on the street are worthy of special attention; a stove that can prepare these favorites is likely to become popular.

It is also important to find out what will ruin a meal and design stoves accordingly. It may be unthinkable to serve a mushy grain or tepid food. A Guatemalan sand/ clay stove became thoroughly unpopular in one area because it had a habit of producing sandy tortillas - the local materials had not been properly analyzed to see if they were suitable (see The stove that broke a tooth, Chapter 3).

You should become thoroughly familiar with the preparation of common foods. Remember that these are not necessarily the foods you are being served; it is the custom in many cultures to prepare a special dish for a guest. If you were invited to an American home you might well get the impression that all Americans eat barbequed steak and that cooking is done on a charcoal grill by the men! Where local etiquette permits it, learn how to prepare the staples in the traditional manner. This will teach you the important order of cooking steps, how much heat or stirring is needed to cook without burning, and any special tricks to ensure that the dish will be just right. A stove design must fit these local cooking needs very closely.


Fig. 2-5

Measure how long each dish takes to cook, and note what heat intensity it requires. Figure 2-5 is an example of a timeline you might observe somewhere in West Africa. Note that the rice requires a much shorter cooking time than the sauce. Would the cook like rice and sauce to finish at the same time, while using only one fire? If so, a two pot stove could be developed that places the sauce pot over the fire box, and the rice pot next in line. In this way, the rice water heats up slowly while the sauce begins cooking, and both will be done at about the same time (Fig. 2-6).

What is warm water used for in the area? How much of it is needed daily, and at what times of the day? Are there seasonal variations? Even in the tropics, large quantities of hot water are sometimes used ,for bathing, consuming huge amounts of wood. A multipot stove, for example, might tee' designed to include a permanent hot water vessel to ensure a ready supply of hot water, heated without having to light a separate fire.

If cooking is done on an open fire, the cook will most likely squat, stoop or sit on a low stool. Find out if this is the preferred cooking position, or would standing make the task more comfortable? A stove does not have to be at ground level; it can accommodate individual or cultural preferences.

How large and heavy are the pots? In West Africa, where families are large, the biggest pots are 60 cm in diameter. Care should be taken in determining the best height for a stove that is to accommodate very big pots. If the stove is too high, it may be difficult to lift a pot full of food. The stove could also have additional surface area so food could be served without having to set the pot on the floor.

Household interactions

Work and responsibilities are usually divided quite clearly between men and women in a family. In many parts of the world, men contribute money or agricultural products to the household, and sometimes buy fuel; women frequently cook, carry water and collect fuel. There may be more than one woman in the household. Find out what their relationship is: mistress/ servant, younger relative/grandmother, co-wife. How is work distributed between them? Who cooks? Here is an example of a! household you might find in the Sahel:

A man has two wives, each living with her children in separate parts of a compound.

They have agreed to split cooking chores; each wife cooks for five days for the entire household. There is one kitchen hut which each woman uses when it is her turn to cook. Each buys her own wood stack to provide fuel for cooking meals and to prepare specialty items on market days for extra income. The daughters help their mothers with cooking chores; they pound the grain and chop the vegetables. There is also the husband's mother; she is largely free of domestic duties.

From this you might conclude that in this family, both wives must be involved in the development process. Would they like a stove? Is one stove enough, or would they prefer some other arrangement? Can the market day specialities be prepared on the same stove, or is a specialized stove needed?

Because of the extensive segregation between men and women in some societies, it may be difficult for a female field worker to be accepted in the circle of men. It is often even more difficult for a man to have access to the women's domain. In parts of the Middle East, women's domestic activities in general, and cooking in particular, take place in a quite separate part of the house, compound or tent, screened off by a high wall. When the meal is ready, it is carried out to the men by a woman. Women and children eat what the men leave, in their own part of the home. Except for a husband, a brother or a son, no man may enter this area.

Working in male/female teams can enable you to obtain information available to only one sex. But the fact remains that women are almost always harder to reach. They are often illiterate. They may speak a local or tribal tongue rather than the lingua franca. There are fewer channels of communication open to them. Be sure to use a female interpreter if you do not speak the women's language, particularly if you are dealing with a culture where men tend to speak for women. You may get two entirely different stories from a man and his wife.

The importance of dealing with women at every stage of your investigation cannot be overstressed. They are usually the cooks; they will judge if a stove does or does not meet their needs. You need their active support and good will. Enlist their help in learning about their culture. By asking them for assistance and by being quite open about the purpose of your investigation, you are beginning to involve them in the design process.

Local customs and esthetics

As a stranger, you must be aware that the household fire is often very central to family life. In the Sahel, the fireplace symbolizes a family's well-being. Should a husband displace the three rocks which surround the fire, this amounts to rejecting his wife [3]. There are many rituals and taboos which are not easily shared with outsiders. Don't assume they do not exist because you have not heard of any. Tread lightly.

Where there is special significance attached to the three fire pit rocks, they might be incorporated into a stove design, or they could exist side by side with a stove. If it is customary to bless a new fire place, the same honor may be extended to a stove. One could modify or even invent a ritual. After all, new roofs, new cars and even transistor radios receive the priest's blessing in some parts of South America.

Every culture has a great number of food taboos and eating rules. This is what "table manners" really are. If you are unfamiliar with the culture, it is important to be especially conscious of serious breaches of local etiquette. For example, there are many areas throughout Africa and the Middle East where people eat out of a common bowl. In such areas, there is often a strict taboo against the use of the left hand for eating. Should someone accidentally use it, no one will touch the contaminated dish. By extension, it is with the right hand that money is exchanged, presents are given and received, or passing friends are greeted.

Develop a feeling for prevalent styles and tastes: favorite colors, textures, designs, shapes, number combinations. What do people decorate? Do they lavish special attention on any buildings or furniture? The local sense of beauty should be incorporated in a stove. Outside shape, color and ornaments may not be essential to its function, but they may make it pleasing and desirable to the owner. In northern India and Nepal, the cook wipes a red clay coating over the whole hearth area every day, keeping it clean and giving it a distinctive red-brown colon In Guatemala, people often whitewash their Lorena stoves regularly. It might be possible to mold relief patterns into a mortar finish - in Senegal, concrete blocks are often made in patterned molds.

There may also be taboos and prejudices in the sphere of esthetics. A European would probably not choose a swastika for a graphic motif, but in India or among the Hopi of the south-western USA it has connotations of the life giving energy of the sun and might well be an appropriate decoration.

The rich and the poor

It is worth noting how the very rich and the very poor live. How do their lifestyles differ? Are they both the product of the same culture, or have the rich adopted completely different, often Western, habits? What items carry prestige and are therefore sought after?

Wealth influences cooking patterns. It arfects the variety and kinds of food eaten. It may affect the choice of fuel and how it is used. In a wealthy household less attention may be paid to fuel conserving methods than in a poor family where fuel costs amount to a quarter of the family budget or all firewood has to be collected. For richer people the fact that a stove is beautiful' or is made out of a "modern" material like concrete, may be more appealing than the fact that it saves fuel. Rich and influential, people are often emulated; you may want to convince them to use a stove. Furthermore, if they are currently cooking with wood or charcoal, they are depleting the local firewood supply as much or more than are poor people.

Urban areas

City life presents special opportunities and constraints. Its investigation takes on increasing importance as urban areas increase two or three times as fast as rural ones. Look closely at life in the slums or squatter settlements: here problems are likely to be most apparent and the need greatest.

In cities, people are tied into a money economy. They cannot grow their own food or gather their own fuel; their access to raw materials is limited. They rely on a source of cash income supplemented with barter, charity, or the help of relatives or friends. Under these conditions, it might be a good idea to develop cheap stoves that could be bought and sold through existing market places. Could transportable stoves be built? Or stoves that can be sold in components? Also think about stoves that can be made of the scrap materials frequently available in the poorest areas of big cities.

It may be possible to develop stoves specially suited to public cooking situations. Each town has restaurants, coffee or tea houses and street vendors. They serve, among others, the large group of seasonal workers urban areas tend to attract. Not all cooking takes place in the home.

If you are unfamiliar with the culture, be careful not to use public eating places to make inferences about everyday home cooking. They are often not comparable. Literature on the fuel problem in Nepal, for instance, talks about "improving native stoves". From reading, one gets the impression that every household has a homebuilt cookstove. Stoves in fact exist, yet whole regions of the country are without domestic cook-stoves. Foreign observers are seeing the stoves in teahouses and are extrapolating that they must also be present in homes [4]

Community resources

Within a village, a town or a big city neighborhood you will find many resources that may be useful to you. Keep your eyes open for indigenous inventions you may never have thought of. Do people have a method of waterproofing roofs and walls that can be applied to an outdoor stove? Have they developed systems to keep their homes warm? (You might learn about local insulation materials.) Do they store food in ingenious ways?

Make a list of locally available materials and tools you may be able to adapt for stove building. Local crafts people are your best source of information. Potters and brickmakers know where to get the best clay, builders can tell you what mix makes the strongest adobe, blacksmiths have access to recycled metals and are resourceful in fashioning tools.

There is usually a source of cement and other imported materials. Keep in mind that a heavy reliance on imports may make a stove program susceptible to the fluctuations of international foreign markets, and may negatively influence the country's balance of trade. More significantly, the use of imports may raise the price of a stove above the means of a large part of the population.

Printed resources

For background information about the country's geographical, economic, political and social make-up, a good recent atlas will give you a number of useful clues. For example: information on the lay-out of the transportation network can tell you to what degree the country is centered upon a primary city. From the road and rail map you can also speculate how well information is likely to travel between outlying areas; are there direct lines of communication or does all information have to travel through the capital?

There exists an excellent atlas for all African countries published by the news magazine Jeune Afrique. Excerpts containing information on some of the countries are available in booklet form. For Latin America, The South American Handbook is a comprehensive sourcebook on every country (including Central America and the Caribbean), though information is sometimes out of date.

Libraries (often attached to universities) and bookstores can be another good source, especially for general information and historical data. The more you can learn about the country's recent history, the better. Does it have a colonial past? Has it had a recent revolution? With this kind of knowledge it may be much easier to understand the country's administrative structure, or with which nations it has friendly or hostile relations. Valuable information can also be found in locally available newspapers and magazines. Keep interesting articles for later reference.

Government agencies may have useful printed material. Check with the ministries for rural development, health, women's affairs, forestry, environmental concerns, and with the national cartographic service. The government printing office may have interesting population and economic statistics.

But remember: one can document almost anything with statistics. Don't take them at face value. Were they compiled to validate someone's argument? Furthermore, they are not necessarily accurate. The difficulties of gathering statistical information in a country with poor transportation and communication can lead to quite distorted statistical results. In a country where a tax is levied on every rural inhabitant, you might expect the rural areas to be under-represented in the population statistics.

A further warning: beware of mistakes and inaccuracies that creep in when your information material is translated from another language. Even widely used terms can connote a range of concepts. Take the word "chula" used in India and Nepal. It can mean hearth, fireplace, stove- or a specific improved stove.

Remember: there are many aspects of life you cannot pick up secondhand from statistics or from other people. Any information you are presented with, to be useful to you, must be processed in the light of your own experience. A couple of weeks spent in the right places may be more valuable than months studying the situation in an academic way.

Working with people

If you are an outsider, you may need some coaching in the local way of doing business. Take the language seriously and learn it: this is one way of showing respect for local people. Find someone who knows the culture you come from, but who has lived in the country long enough to be familiar with local ways of doing things, and with what might be expected of you. A European or American may want- to find a student who studied abroad, or a volunteer from a foreign group who has worked in the country for some time. Other contacts include missionaries, field researchers (anthropologists, sociologists, etc.) university professors, extension workers and health workers. But be wary of the viewpoints expressed by the elite - in many third world countries even social scientists learn disdain for poor people at a very early age. Further, the urban elite don't often visit the rural areas or poor parts of the city, and probably don't have firsthand knowledge of them.

If you walk into a government office or a village and start abruptly firing questions, you will probably not get very far. It is important to go through the proper channels, taking as much time as is necessary. To contact influential people in or out of the government you will need introductions. A phone call from a professor might arrange an interview with the minister of forestry. Find out who the right person is to contact. In Guatemala, for instance, you will not get any information if you do not talk to the highest official in the department first - he may be so angry at being slighted that he will block your inquiries indefinitely.

Most important of all, you need to start out well with the people you will be working with. If you are introduced by a trusted extension worker or volunteer your task will be much easier. Take your time. In many places it is polite to greet the village chief first. Stay and drink tea with him if he wishes it. Don't become impatient: the time "wasted" is establishing you as a polite and considerate person. Eventually, explain why you have come and who you would like to talk to. Be open about what you are doing. Involve everyone in your information gathering from the village chief to the children who follow you around.

In some places, it may be easier to use a questionnaire, in others, informal talks make people more comfortable. Ask if it is permissible to take notes as you talk; do not use tape recorders and cameras without explicit permission. Cameras scare people in many cultures; you do not need to use them. Make drawings instead. People will be intrigued.

Be careful of the way you ask your questions. Most people like to help; rather than not give you an answer because they don't know, they may tell you what they think you would like to hear. Questions which require only a "yes" or "no" as an answer are especially dangerous in this respect. Check with several people to see if you get consistent answers. Typically, men give different answers to women than they would to other men, and vice versa.

Be patient. Don't start out with the most difficult and sensitive questions. As people trust you more, you will learn more about their lives, but accept that there will always be some things they will not tell you about.

Socio-cultural Checklist

Fire:
- What functions does the fire have? (e.g. cooking, warmth, light, social focus)
- Is smoke a problem?
- Have there been incidences of burns or scalding accidents?
- Is the cook exposed to too much heat?
- Likes and dislikes about open fire cooking.

Fireplace:
- Where is the fireplace located? (indoors, outdoors, under shelter) Why? (e.g. protection from wind)
- Are there seasonal variations in cooking location?
- Does a different fireplace exist for special occasions or special uses?

Fuels:
- How is fuel acquired? (e.g. bought, traded for, collected)
- Who supplies the household with fuel?
- Where does fuel come from? Is it easily available?
- What are fuel costs in time or money?Has this changed recently? At what rate are fuel prices, or the amount of time needed to collect fuel, increasing?
- Seasonal variation in fuel supply?
- Is fuel stored? How?
- What fuels do urban populations use? the rich? the poor?
- Likes and dislikes about available fuels.

Pots:
- Are pots well adapted to local cooking needs?
- What are the other cooking utensils? (coffee can, wok)
- Are cooking utensils locally made? centrally manufactured? imported?

What do people cook and eat?
- What are staples? specialty items?
- Seasonal variations in foods eaten?
- What is considered especially "delicious?
- What will ruin a meal?
- How does the urban menu differ from the rural? rich from poor?

Cooking Practices:
- Describe the order of cooking steps.
- Is there a need for hot water? How much? At what time?
- In what position do people cook? Is this their preferred cooking posture?
- Are there cooking rituals?

Family:
- How many people live in this family? (Men? women? old people? children?)
- Are there frequent visitors?
- How many people regularly eat together?
- How large is the average family?
- How is work divided in the household between the family members?
- Who cooks? who gets fuel? be specific. (e.g. two wives cook simultaneously in two kitchens)

Sex Roles:
- What is considered men's work or women's work around the house?
- How do men and women interact? men and men? women and women?
- Who works together?
- Who builds houses? granaries? furnishings? fireplaces?
- Are artisan skills limited to one sex? (e.g. pottery)
- Are there exceptions to the rules?

Taboos and Rituals:
- What sex role taboos are there in regard to working together, cooking and eating practices?
- What cooking and eating rituals are there? what food taboos?
- Are there fuel taboos? material taboos? shape taboos? number taboos? (e.g. number 13)

Esthetics and Fun:
- What colors do people like? what shapes? what adornments do they use?
- What colors, shapes or symbols to they dislike? ..
- To what do they give special care and attention? (e.g. Iiving room, place of worship)
- What are important feasts? (e.g. baptisms, fairs)

Public Eating Places:
- What percentage of cooked food is prepared and eaten in public eating places?

Statistical Information:
- What proportion of the population lives in the cities? in rural areas?
- At what rate are these populations increasing or decreasing?
- Economic structure: where is a cash economy used? where a barter system? where and to what extent a mixture?
- What is the distribution of wealth?
- What is the rate of deforestation ? reforestation?

Technical Checklist

Fire:
- How do people build fires? why? relate this to cooking practices (e.g. small fire for simmering).
- How many fires are used simultaneously?
- What kind of fuel conserving practices are used? (e.g. windshields, cooking with retained heat).
- What happens to the fire and fuel after cooking?

Fireplaces:
- Make dimensioned drawings of the local kinds of fireplaces.
- Are there indigenous stoves? ovens? kilns?

Fuels:
- What is used for kindling?
- What is used for fuel? Seasonal variation?
- Combustion characteristics of each fuel used (e.g. straw burns fast and hot).
- Measure fuel size, length, diameter. How much variation is there?
- If the fuel is wood: what kind of wood? is it used wet or dry?
- Are there wood cutting tools?
- What are the local ways of measuring fuel? what are the units? is fuel measured by volume? by price?
- How much does a local unit (e.g. "a bundle") weigh? Establish the average for each area you work in.
- List possible alternative fuels (e.g. agricultural wastes).

Pots:
- Make dimensioned drawings of the pots and cooking utensils.
- How much variation is there in pot sizes? Do pots come in standard sizes? how exact are these sizes?
- What materials are used for cooking utensils? List their properties (e.g. clay pots: fragile, heat slowly).
- Are lids used? if not, why not? what could be used as lids?
- Are lids insulated? what could be used for insulation?

Cooking Practices:
- How long do commonly eaten foods take to cook? Measure, and draw up timelines (see Chapter 2).
- Parameters: what foods require the shortest and longest cooking times? How long?
- Note fire and heat requirements to cook different commonly eaten foods.
- Measure the distance between the ground and the bottom of the cook pot.

Available Materials:
- Local material (e.g. sand, gravel, clay, straw, dung).
- Recycled materials (e.g. old oil cans for sheet metal).
- Imported materials (e.g. cement, steel).
- Where are these materials available?
- Are there preferred materials? why? (e.g. people like cement because it is strong, and because it is modern).
- What other materials could be adapted to stove construction?

Skills:
- Are there adobe and/or mud construction skills? Describe.
- Are there potters? Describe their materials and technique (e.g. how do they fire their nets? do they use glaze? etc.).
- Are there blacksmiths? Describe their technique (e.g. is their furnace hot enough to permit welding?).
- What other skills might be useful in stove construction?(e.g. are there local ways of waterproofing houses?).

Tools:
- What are a local mason's tools?
- An adobe maker's?
- A potter's?
- A blacksmith's?
- What tools and utensils could be adapted to stove construction? (e.g. machete can be used as metal cutter).

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